HUNTING AND GATHERING SOCIETIES 5
Huntingand Gathering Societies
Huntingand Gathering Societies
Theevolution of human culture for the period of ten thousand years agohas greatly reduced human dependency on natural ecosystems forsustenance. While most world societies led by the South West Asianpeople shifted to agriculture and domestication of animals, fewothers, including the Mbendjele Bayaka of central African and Negritoof Asia continued with hunting wild animals and gathering fruits forsustenance. Consequently, these societies present valuableopportunities for the researchers seeking to understand early humancultures, and the extent modern societies have advanced intocivilization. Althoughmost people would refer to the modern hunters and gatherer’ssocieties as primitive, their anarchist and social systems prove tobe powerful drivers for peaceful co-existence and socialdevelopments.
TheSocial Organization of Hunters and Gatherers
Similarto the modern societies of crop producers and businesspersons,hunters and gatherers’ primary social unit is family (Salali &Migliano, 2015). Members of a family share strong ties that keep themclose to each other. However, a study by Dyble etal.(2015) established that unlike other societies, these familiescontain individuals who are not related or share genetic ties,something that has led to a conclusion that their cohabitation issexually determined.
Accordingto Kramer and Greaves (2011), several families make up a socialorganization with the commonalities of the camp defining therelationship with one another (Low within the camp relationship).Also, the cohabitation within the social structure is governed by thesexual equality that sees members uniting in hunting and gatheringactivities regardless of their gender (Dyble etal.,2015). In this case, the concept of egalitarianism is highly evidentin these societies, something that enables members to live withoutthe formal systems of governance.
TheGroup Cohesion, Component, and Control
Membersof a hunters’ and gathers’ community are tied to each otherthrough culturally perceived unity, social or task relation, andemotional bonding that ensure the promotionof individual’s well-being and sense of belonging (Kramer &Greaves, 2011). More importantly, these bonding also determines howindividuals enjoy benefits including food and protection as a memberof a particular group according to their informal system (Salali &Migliano, 2015). Finally, these communities practice anarchism thatdefines individual’s relationship with others regardless ofpolitical authority or differences leading to complete freedom withinthe community.
TheSubsistence and Economic System
Thehunters and gatherers community are economically egalitarian sincetheir practices are not gender defined. In this case, all men andwomen unite in both hunting and gathering activities for food,leading to a system without or with less economic stratification(classes) (Dyble etal.,2015). More importantly, the lack of stratification is facilitatedby the communal ownership of property these societies practice.Unlike in capitalism, communal ownership ensures equal distributionand utilization of resources such as hunting grounds.
Thesesocieties especially those living in Kalahari Desert carry out tradefor food with agriculturalist and pastoralists communities (Salali &Migliano, 2015). For instance, the Batwa of Uganda in Africa exchangehoney with neighboring communities. Finally, their economic system isdynamic. Recent studies establish that some communities haveintegrated their indigenous practices with crop production and animalrearing. Such new strategy has been adaptive towards the degradationof natural ecosystems enhanced by modern activities such as miningand construction of roads through forests leading to leading to lossof biodiversity these people depend on for survival.
Inbrief, the hunters and gatherers have maintained their cultural,economic and anarchism systems for many centuries despite all thecultural, economic and technological advancement since the dawn ofRenaissance period. Although these societies may seem primitive intheir way of life, it is evident through several studies that theyhave unique and beneficial social traits of cohabitation. Thesetraits, including the anarchism, egalitarianism, low within camprelatedness, and dependency on natural ecosystems influence apeaceful relationship between members of a group despite the lack ofgenetic relatedness leading to a quality system of socialdevelopment.
Dyble,M., Salali, G. D., Chaudhary, N., Page, A., Smith, D., Thompson, J.,& … Migliano, A. B. (2015). Sex equality can explain theuniquesocial structure of hunter-gatherer bands. Science, 348(6236),796-798.
Kramer,K. L., & Greaves, R. D. (2011). Postmarital Residence andBilateral Kin Associations among Hunter-Gatherers. Human Nature,22(1/2), 41-63. doi:10.1007/s12110-011-9115-7
Salali,G. D., & Migliano, A. B. (2015). Future Discounting in CongoBasin Hunter-Gatherers Declines with Socio-Economic Transitions. PlosONE, 10(9), 1-10. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137806